Billy Packer, legendary voice of college basketball Final Fours, dies at 82

Packer’s broadcasting career coincided with the growth of college basketball. He worked as an analyst or color commentator on every Final Four from 1975 to 2008.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Billy Packer, an Emmy award-winning college basketball broadcaster who covered 34 Final Fours for NBC and CBS, died Thursday. He was 82.

Packer’s son, Mark, told The Associated Press that his father had been hospitalized in Charlotte for the past three weeks and had several medical issues, and ultimately died from kidney failure.

Packer played three seasons at Wake Forest and helped lead the Demon Deacons to the Final Four in 1962, but it was his work as an analyst that brought him the most acclaim.

He joined NBC in 1974 and called his first Final Four in 1975. UCLA beat Kentucky in the title game that year in what was John Wooden’s final game as coach.

Packer was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.

“Billy was always a bit of a hustler — he was always looking for that next business deal,” Packer said.